For those of you whose mood may struggle to stay up during the changing of the seasons, you’re not alone. Protect your peace, do things you enjoy that bring you happiness, and create your own sunshine.
I dread Daylight Savings ending every year. Most people look forward to gaining that extra hour but me? Nope. Yes, getting an extra hour to sleep and waking up feeling a little more energized than the night before is cool. But, do you know what’s not cool? Walking outside at 5:30 and it being pitch black. Feeling like your whole day is gone. Not wanting to do anything but go home and immediately get into bed and do absolutely nothing until the next day.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you’re like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody.
It’s estimated that nearly 10 million Americans experience SAD each year, me being one of them. Depression has been a struggle of mine for pretty much my entire life starting around age 12. I’ve gotten better at managing it and can recognize certain triggers now. One of them being SAD. For a good month, after Daylight Savings ends, I’m a bit moodier, more guarded, less social, more tired. My appetite and sleep are up and down. Either too much, or too little. Not really a happy medium.
This is a reality for a lot of people during the changing of the seasons. There’s less sunlight, the weather drops, and days are a little gloomier than months prior and for some, that takes some getting used to. The first two years that I experienced this, it took time to get used to and not spiral into a full-on depressive episode. But, recognizing triggers, having patience with my adjusting period, and actively combating the negative feelings around the seasonal changes has helped majorly. I find it a little easier to push through it, sometimes forcing myself out of bed, or to the gym, or out to dinner with a friend.
So if you find your mood may be changing with the weather, check back tomorrow for ways to protect your mental health during the winter and holiday season.
Do you experience SAD? Let me know any coping tips you may have below.